Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening said that “Knesset members who visit and comfort the families of terrorists who murdered Israelis are not worthy of serving in Israel’s Knesset.” He announced that he had approached Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein with a request to examine ways of sanctioning them.
The Tuesday visit, in an unknown location, by MKs Hanin Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka from the United Arab list, began with a moment of silence and a prayer for the souls of the terrorists who have murdered Israelis over the past few months and whose bodies have not yet been returned by the Israeli government. The families stressed the importance of being able to bury their loved ones, and protested the manner in which they had been “executed.” The Arab MKs for their part promised to apply as much pressure as they can to bring the bodies home, emphasizing that not releasing them is “a sin.”
The Arab MKs also met with the father of Bahaa Alyan, the terrorist who committed the stabbing and shooting attack in Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem last October, killing three Jews. They reportedly met with other terrorists from eastern Jerusalem as well.
All three MKs congratulated the family members for their firm stand. “It’s important to be united against the attacks on the Palestinian nation,” they said. The Arab party meanwhile has passed the families’ request to Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Erdan was enraged by the MKs’ message and called on the Attorney General to examine whether their meeting with the families of terrorists might not constitute a criminal support for acts of murder and terror. “The bodies of the terrorists will not be released until the families commit to obeying police requirement that the funerals not turn into a riot of incitement and support for terrorism. Instead of promoting [the police request] the Arab MKs did the exact opposite,” Erdan said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said that “the Arab MKs don’t miss an opportunity to support terrorism. They harm their own constituents more than anyone else, they represent nothing and promote nothing other than support for terrorism an action against the State of Israel. The Arab public should oppose its representatives who act as agents for terrorism instead of its representatives in the Knesset.”
Chairman of the Constitutional Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said that “It appears that in Israel’s Knesset there are supporters of terrorism. We must change the election laws so that anyone whose behavior is immoral and harms the State of Israel would not sit in the Israeli Knesset.”
Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp) said the Arab MKs are severing with their own hands the last threads that still connect them to Israeli society. “We cannot ignore it when MKs are visiting the families of terrorists who injured and murdered Israelis,” she said, adding, “Instead of using their position to bridge the gaps, they are digging with their own hands an ever-deepening ditch of hatred.”
Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page that “there’s no longer any need to prove that the members of the United List in general and the Balad faction in particular are agents of the terror organization in the Knesset. Their meeting with the families of terrorists who murdered Jews is only a reminder to anyone who may still need it, that the sooner these terrorists are ousted from the Israeli Knesset and hopefully from the State of Israel, the better.”